Supporters of former Gov. Bill Walker have lodged a complaint against Gov. Mike Dunleavy and groups and people supporting Dunleavy and his reelection campaign. It’s part of their playbook.
A new nonprofit called the 907 Initiative, along with the Alaska Public Interest Research Group, popped up the complaint on Tuesday.
Aubrey Wieber, a former journalist who has lived in Alaska for about three years, is the executive director of the 907 Initiative, which calls itself a nonprofit group but which is pretty obviously a dark money political operation.
907 Initiative formed on Aug. 23, 2022, according to the Department of Commerce, just in time for the elections.
Wieber was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News after arriving in Alaska, and wrote for the ADN from 2019 to 2020. After being a political reporter, he jumped into politics with both feet, running the failed congressional campaign of Anchorage Assemblyman Chris Constant. He also worked for Agnew-Beck, a consulting group that has enjoyed many government contracts with the left-leaning Anchorage Assembly.
Scott Kendall drafted the complaint for the 907 Initiative and worked with AKPIRG to file it, he reported to mainstream media allies.
Kendall, who is associated with Walker’s campaign for governor, has a long history of harassing Dunleavy. He filed specious complaints in the last Dunleavy campaigns and in other elections, such as during the Ballot Measure 2 fight, and against Mayor Dave Bronson’s campaign for Anchorage mayor. This is standard operating procedure for Kendall, who uses “lawfare,” weaponizing the law to wage war against, harass, damage, or delegitimize an opponent, or to hang up a campaign with legal complaints in order to deter it.
Kendall has, in the past, threatened to sue Must Read Alaska over reporting of his activities associated with the congressional race, when candidate Al Gross suddenly left the race after placing third in the primary.
Kendall, who is associated with Walker’s current campaign for governor, has a long history of harassing Dunleavy. This is standard operating procedure for Kendall.
Kendall, who also was key to the failed attempt to recall Dunleavy, drafted the complaint filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, saying that Dunleavy was using his official office to campaign, and that he was coordinating with an independent campaign group working to reelect him.
The Dunleavy campaign has called the complaint “entirely inaccurate.”
Complaints like this are at times an indication of political desperation. Kendall doesn’t understand that Alaskans see through it and even the Anchorage Daily News story reporting on the complaint appeared to be wary of the political skulduggery involved.
Kendall is an expert in questionable political coordination. He works out of an office on the sixth floor of the Peterson Tower, where he helps an independent expenditure group on the same floor that is working on behalf of Sen. Lisa Murkowksi’s reelection. That group is not allowed to coordinate with the Murkowski campaign but Murkowki’s official government office is right next door.
Kendall also raised and spent an undisclosed amount on the failed Gov. Dunleavy recall, likely hundreds of thousands of dark money dollars. He never had to report it because, in the end, could not get the required signatures to take the recall effort to the ballot. Typically, a statewide ballot initiative like a recall would cost millions of dollars. The purpose of the recall effort was to either remove the governor or so badly damage him that Walker could easily get back into office.
Kendall also used millions of dollars of Outside dark money to push through Ballot Measure 2, which brought in ranked choice voting and which was designed to help Sen. Lisa Murkowski win in spite of her poor standing with conservatives.
Kendall was also a key driver in Bill Walker’s reelection campaign in 2018, which failed so badly that Walker withdrew from the race in shame in the 11th hour, after having to replace his lieutenant governor due to a scandal.
Now, Kendall sees himself as the arbitrator of correct political practice.
It’s common for people who work for the governor in an official capacity to also take leave time or spend off-work hours on the campaign side. Kendall knows this.
During Walker’s term in office, when Kendall was chief of staff, he hired John-Henry Heckendorn of Ship Creek Group to be a special assistant to Walker while the governor was preparing to run for reelection. Heckendorn was groomed into Walker World for a year while preparing campaign efforts on the side, then left the official office to work full-time on the campaign side as the manager for the Walker for Governor campaign in 2018.
Walker came in third during the jungle primary on Aug. 16, 2022, with 22.8% of the vote. He will appear on the ranked choice ballot on Nov. 8, along with first-place finisher Gov. Mike Dunleavy, second-place finisher Les Gara, and fourth-place finisher Charlie Pierce, who Kendall has been trying to force out of the race, so that far-right candidate Chris Kurka could move onto the general election ballot and wage war on Dunleavy from the right.